Updated: September 18 10:45 a.m. ET
As the only conference playing field hockey this fall, the Atlantic Coast Conference opening weekend begins this Friday with one game and two more on Sunday. All matches are available for live stream on the ACC Network.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
No. 4 Duke at No. 6 Syracuse | Postponed | ACCN
Duke’s road trip to Syracuse for the opening of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) field hockey season, scheduled for September 18 and 20, is postponed due to Orange players being potentially exposed to COVID-19 after interaction with an individual not affiliated with the team. The student-athletes, determined by contact tracing as potentially exposed, are now quarantining in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York State guidelines. At this time, all members of the Syracuse field hockey program have tested negative for COVID-19.
No. 4 Duke will head to New York to take on No. 6 Syracuse in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) season opener. Last year's match-up was a battle as it took two overtime periods to decide a winner. Although Duke tallied 28 shots to the Orange's 11, it was Syracuse who notched the game-winner in the 78th minute to defeat the Blue Devils.
Three athletes across both rosters were named to the 2020 Preseason All-ACC Team. Duke represents with senior Lexi Davidson who returns after starting all 21 contests as a junior. She helped Duke's backline to seven shutouts and a 1.13 goals against average. Syracuse's Charlotte de Vries and Laura Graziosi were both named to the team. de Vries had a standout freshman season leading the Orange with 15 goals and 31 points. She scored six game-winning goals, including the overtime goal in last year's match-up with Duke, and started all 18 games. Graziosi appeared and started in all 18 games at midfield as a sophomore and recorded nine points on the season with three goals and three assists.
Last season, Duke finished 13-8 overall, 1-5 in the ACC and earned their 18th berth in the NCAA Tournament, falling to No. 6 Iowa in the opening round. They welcome six newcomers to the team that includes Barb Civitella, a member of the U.S. Rise Women's National Team, and return a veteran class that includes sophomores and U-21 USWNT athletes, Hannah Miller, who garnered All-South Region Second Team recognition last year, and Josie Varney. Junior Leah Crouse, All-ACC Second Team and U-21 USWNT athlete, will use her leadership on the forward line after leading the Blue Devils, tied with Miller, for 11 goals. They have also added USWNT goalkeeper Jess Jecko to the staff as a volunteer assistant coach.
Syracuse finished 2019 with a record of 12-7 overall and 3-3 in conference play. They also fell in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament to eventual runner-up, Princeton, in their 14th appearance in the event. They add six rookies to the 2020 roster. The Orange will be led by sophomore de Vries, U-21 USWNT athlete, All-Mideast Region First Team and All-America Second-Team, and senior Carolin Hoffman, All-Mideast Region First Team and All-America Third Team.
Consistent with New York State's COVID-19 protocol and in an effort to maintain a safe and healthy campus community, Syracuse University Athletics will not host fans at any home sports events at this time.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 20
No. 4 Duke at No. 6 Syracuse | Postponed | ACCN
No. 1 North Carolina at No. 7 Wake Forest | 2:00 p.m. ET | ACCN
An in-state match-up will see the No. 1 ranked North Carolina team travel to Winston-Salem, N.C. to take on No. 7 Wake Forest. The last time these two teams met in mid-October 2019, the Tar Heels calculated their 36th consecutive win (3-1), which set an ACC record.
As the two-time defending NCAA and ACC Champions, the Tar Heels will be the team with the target on their backs. In 2019, they posted a 23-0 overall record, capturing the program's eighth NCAA title and 22nd ACC championship. The team will be led by junior Erin Matson and senior Eva Smolenaars who were both named to the 2020 Preseason All-ACC Team. Matson had a standout sophomore campaign being named the Honda Sports Award recipient, ACC Female Athlete of the Year, Division I National Player of the Year, ACC Offensive Player of the Year, South Region Player of the Year, NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, All-America First-Team, All-ACC and All-ACC tournament, while finishing with 33 goals, 15 assists and 81 points. Smolenaars has been instructional in UNC's midfield, starting all 23 games last year and being named to the All-NCAA Tournament Team after she had two goals and an assist in the final. U.S. Women's National Development Team member and redshirt junior Cassie Sumfest will be returning to the backfield for the Tar Heels after sitting out the 2019 season to recover from an ACL injury. Current USWNT striker Lauren Moyer has joined the staff as a volunteer assistant.
Wake Forest is coming off a 9-11 season, after going 0-6 in the ACC. The Demon Deacons welcome eight incoming including Lee Ann Gordon, Rise USWNT athlete, and will be anchored by an experienced upper class with senior defender Anne Van Hoof, All-American Second Team and All-ACC Second Team, leading the helm. Van Hoof started in all 20 games last year and led Wake Forest with seven goals. Long time goalkeeper for the USWNT, Jackie Briggs transitioned between staffs in the off-season and now represents Wake Forest as an assistant Coach.
In accordance with guidance from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Wake Forest will not be able to host fans for their upcoming home contests through September.